I love summer, but it can come with challenges. It took us a few summers to figure out all the greatest and most useful products for our kids, but once you get it figured out, you’re like a well-oiled machine: prepared for anything, ready to go at a moment’s notice. Plus, there’s nothing worse than hauling around stuff you will never use.
Here are my summer must haves for girls:
Sunscreen stick. I prefer the sticks for face application. Lotions require too much rubbing, but even a baby will tolerate a football-player style swipe of sunscreen stick on each cheek. I do two swipes under the eyes, one down the nose, across the forehead and on the chin.
UV shirt/bikini bottom swim suit. This is my all-time favorite combo for swimming. It’s easier than a one-piece for diaper changes or kids who are potty trained and go by themselves, and swim shirts dry super fast, so when it’s time to go home or go inside, you can just have them throw on some shorts and keep playing. Plus, UV shirts protect better than sunscreen. The shirts can be pricier and sometimes hard to find, so check out Land’s End or L.L. Bean at the end of the season and buy a size up for next year for deep discounts. Do not try the full one-piece and UV shirt combo I see everywhere—she’ll have to take everything off to go potty and it’s really hard when they are wet.
Swim diaper. If your little one isn’t potty trained yet, or even if they are just starting but not reliable, a cloth swim diaper will save your summer. Little swimmers are expensive, and they won’t hold in solids. Some water parks don’t even allow them because of the mess that can result. Cloth swim diapers fit tight around legs and waist, are easy to take off, and reusable. Even if you don’t cloth diaper otherwise, you’ll love them.
If you don’t know where to find them, ask a cloth diaper mama—she probably has an old one she’ll just give you. This time of year, Target and Walmart both stock some with the water toys and goggles. The kids’ brand iPlay also has some cute swim sets with UV shirts and cloth diaper bottoms. You can also search for cloth diapers on your local Craigslist.
Waterproof blanket. I shared this as one of the things I keep in my Summer Go Bag, but it’s still worth the mention. You just won’t believe all the times it will come in handy. It stays in my trunk year-round.
Terry cover-up. These are super easy to make, and also cheap to buy. I love that they look like dresses, and they are cool and comfy for after-water play. They are also great to keep in the bathroom for after bath if your little one prefers to air-dry.
Saltwater sandals. These are just classic little girl wear. I love that they are made of leather so they are easy to clean and can be worn in the water. Not to mention they go with everything girls wear in the summer from shorts and a tee to your Sunday best. Few shoes make it through from the oldest to the youngest in our family, but these have, so even though they are more expensive than I typically like for kid stuff, it’s worth it.
For me, these items just make summer more fun, easy and worry free. What are your summer must-haves?